Mater Dei wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, left, makes the catch for a 2-point conversion in the third quarter dispite efforts by Orange Lutheran cornerback Lance Dravis to break up the pass in Santa Ana on Friday, October 14, 2016. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Mater Dei shows poise in win over Orange Lutheran


SANTA ANA – Mater Dei ate a firm jab early, and as a result, found itself in a spot it had never been in to this point of the season. Trailing.

There was no panic, though. No sense of uneasiness on the sideline or on the field.

With overlooking a talented Orange Lutheran bunch being one of the biggest concerns leading up to a can’t-miss league showdown next Friday, the Monarchs rebounded and went on to impose their will on yet another highly touted foe.

Sophomore quarterback JT Daniels threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns; senior wideout Osiris St. Brown hauled in a career-high 11 catches for 149 yards and three scores; and top-ranked Mater Dei cruised past No. 3 Orange Lutheran, 56-14, Friday night in a Trinity League game at Santa Ana Stadium.

Daniels’ five touchdown passes gives him 40 on the season, breaking the school record of 36 set by Billy Blanton in 1991.

In securing the victory, the Monarchs (7-0, 2-0) set up one of the most-anticipated regular-season games in recent memory, a league battle with St. John Bosco (6-1, 2-0) next Friday at Cerritos College.

“I love games like this,” Mater Dei coach Bruce Rollinson said of facing off against the Braves. “It’s a chess match. I respect their coaches. Both teams are going to be well prepared and then let’s see who can execute. There’s a lot of great players that will go off for both clubs. It’s going to be fun.”

A loss on Friday night certainly would’ve taken away from the mystique of the Week 8 game, and that’s exactly what Orange Lutheran (4-3, 1-1) had in mind.

The Lancers jumped to a 7-0 lead five minutes into the first quarter when quarterback Ryan Hilinski hit receiver Stan Berryhill in stride on a deep post pattern. The senior speedster outraced the Mater Dei defense for a 65-yard score, giving Mater Dei its first deficit of the season.

“First quarter we did get hit in the mouth a little bit,” St. Brown said. “I don’t think we ever lost focus, but we had to re-gather a little bit.”

The elder of the St. Brown boys caught the first of his three touchdown passes with 2:38 to play in the first quarter, evening the game at 7-7.

Mater Dei scored 27 straight points over its next four possessions, and took a 27-14 edge into halftime.

“It sounds kind of funny, but to have a little bit of adversity – the first time we had to chase some points against a very physical ballclub – we needed that,” Rollinson said. “We needed to get into a physical battle, and we got challenged a little bit. What I like is that we made adjustments at halftime and we came out and we took care of business.”

The Monarchs defense shut out the Lancers in the second half, while Daniels guided the offense on four consecutive scoring drives in the third and fourth quarters.

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